It’s Time For the 76ers to Free Joel Embiid


Philadelphia 76ers fans are hoping center Joel Embiid’s days of missing back-to-back games are drawing to a close.

For two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers coaching and medical staff have kept close tabs on the games and minutes played by center Joel Embiid. After playing through a minutes restriction in the 2016-17 season and a portion of this season, coach Brett Brown lifted those restraints allowing Embiid to play as needed.

Despite an average of 23 points, 11 boards and close to two blocks per game backed by some great performances, Embiid has yet to play in back-to-back games in his NBA career.

With the team now sitting as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and 2.5 games out of the fifth spot, it’s time for the 76ers to turn Joel Embiid loose.

Newly minted All-Star Joel Embiid has been nothing short of devastating in his second NBA season. You can point to his 32 point, 16 rebound performance against the Los Angeles Clippers only to be eclipsed two nights later as he dropped 45 and 16 on the Lakers. In both games, Embiid played an average of 35 minutes. Light years from the frustrating nights where he was allowed to get a 20-25 minute run.

Embiid’s most encouraging performance came on December 15, 2017 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the triple-overtime loss, Embiid posted 34/8/6 in a 119-117 thriller. However, his most impressive stat was the 48:39 seconds of logged playing time, a career high.

Hopes of the organization turning the corner on the possibility of playing Embiid in back-to-back games soured when he was listed as inactive in three consecutive games against the Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors, respectively. The 76ers lost all three contests by a grand total of 23 points.

Philly at 24-23 is in the mix to finish as a Top 4 team in the Eastern Conference — currently 2.5 games behind the Washington Wizards and 3.5 games behind the Miami Heat. Take away the games Embiid was held out for and the 76ers post a more impressive 21-15 record.

With the playoffs in sight and the fourth easiest schedule remaining, it’s time for the 76ers to step away from a culture of caution that has crept into this organization in recent years — throw all caution to the wind concerning Embiid — and make a serious push to become a factor in the topsy-turvy Eastern Conference.

The sports climate has changed dramatically in Philadelphia and it’s time for the 76ers to jump into the fray. The franchise expressed their faith in Embiid and his abilities to the tune of 5 years and $148 million.

With Ben Simmons as good as advertised, the team still lacks a scoring closer and perimeter defender. With the NBA trade deadline weeks away, hopefully the team is looking to add one or both commodities.

When it comes to Embiid and his health, the 76ers biggest question has been answered.

Leave a Reply